George Floyd (Courtesy of Ben Crump)

The guilty plea to the two federal charges represented the first time former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin had publicly admitted his role in the death of George Floyd after pleading not guilty to the state murder charges and exercising his right not to testify at the trial in April.

George Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd, told CNN in February it was a sense of responsibility.

“For me, that’s huge, because a blue wall has come down, and it never comes down,” he said. “It makes me feel better knowing that he is going to be held accountable for what happens.”

Other family members said they believed Chauvin pleaded guilty only because he had no other choice.

“I still feel the same pain (and) the same anger that I felt at the start, because he could have done this last year, started this that day,” said Rodney Floyd, another of the brothers of Floyd. “So today is the same pain.”

Terrence Floyd, another brother, said hearing the guilty plea “made me feel like, finally, you took responsibility.”

“When he pleaded guilty, I know he knows why,” he said. “The fact remains that he’s actually going to be in jail and serving time for what he’s done, so that’s good enough for me.”

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, who led the state murder case against Chauvin, released a statement about the importance of the guilty plea.

“Today, Derek Chauvin took responsibility and admitted his guilt in open court, under penalty of perjury, for depriving George Floyd and a boy, then only 14 years old, of their civil rights. This is important and historic. His confession marks another important moment of accountability and another step on the road to justice,” he said.

Chauvin was indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly using unreasonable force against a 14-year-old boy in 2017.

Ellison also thanked the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota and the Department of Justice for bringing the case.

“George Floyd’s life mattered. This young man’s life matters. No one is above the law, and no one is below. As Floyd’s life is lost for his family and for all of us , I hope Chauvin’s change in advocacy will mark a new beginning for equal justice under the law, respectful treatment for every person in our society, and greater confidence in our justice system,” Ellison said. .

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